Preparing for your session


This process can be a little overwhelming for many people. Not knowing what what to wear, if colours or patterns will clash and what works well in general are all common questions I get asked regularly. This guide is my gift to you. My wish is for you to enjoy your session in it's entirety from deciding on a shoot location, choosing your outfit, being photographed to receiving your personalized gallery.

What to wear for your session?


Photo sessions are an event and you should dress accordingly, compliment (don't match) each other, and have fun with it whilst still staying true to yourselves and your style!


Coordinating doesn't mean you have to wear matching outfits. In fact, looking extremely matchy-matchy is artificial and an outdated trend. But your looks should work together. You also don’t have to be fancy to look nice, you can still be your down-to-earth, casual self and still ooze style.


There are three main components to coordinating:

- Level of formality. If he's in a tux, she shouldn't be in a casual blouse. And if she's dressed to the nines, he shouldn't be in sports attire.

- Colour Palette. Drawing from the same color palette is a great way to coordinate! The most common mistake is everyone trying to wear the same shade.

-Embrace color and pattern! I know, we've been told for years that black is slimming and white is classic. But free your mind and your wardrobe from these constraints! I already mentioned the way color can be used to help coordinate. Well, pattern is a perfect way to FIND these colours. Choose an item of clothing with a pattern and then draw inspiration for colours from within it to create the palette for your outfits. Try to stay away from really tiny patterns, they won’t show up in your images.  Also, bold jewelry, scarves, and coloured shoes photograph really well!


Lastly, other common mistakes we see are loose fitting dresses or shirts for women. Women tend to think, "the baggier the better" but, that can't be further from the truth! Men should refrain from wearing sporty items, large logos, neon colours or baggy clothes as these can be distracting. ALWAYS wear something that is comfortable, shape defining but also compliments your build.

Preparing for your session

Neutrals

Light tones

earth tones

Jewel Tones

Cool Tones

warm tones

How to look natural in your photographs


Many people dread their session because they worry that they’ll look awkward in front of the camera. Luckily, I think you can easily overcome the nerves that come with being in front of the camera by utilizing a few of these suggestions! For all our camera shy friends out there, these tips are for you!



Focus on each other!

My first tip is to focus on your partner/family and the connection you share with each other. Be as affectionate towards each other as you feel comfortable. If you feel comfortable, you will look comfortable in your photographs which is key to looking natural. Hold hands, kiss, cuddle, tickle or crack a joke or two … do what feels right to you! At first, you may feel nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera, but chances are everyone feels the exact same way! Laugh through the awkwardness together and your connection will shine through.


HAVE YOUR SESSION WHILST DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE!

Another great way to loosen up and look more natural in your photos is to have them taken while you're doing something you love together! Maybe you enjoy cooking or gardening, or perhaps hiking or dancing is up your alley. Do whatever is special to you! Doing a shared activity that everyone loves will make the shoot feel authentic to who you are as a unit, and it will also give you something to focus on that isn’t the camera.


MAKE THE POSES YOUR OWN!

I will suggest poses throughout the shoot, should you require some directing, but feel free to make adjustments to these poses to make them your own. If the way you are sitting or standing feels uncomfortable or awkward to you, switch it up! Also make sure to be aware of what you’re doing with your hands while you pose. They shouldn’t be hanging awkwardly by your sides. After all, when do you ever stand that way in real life? Try and make sure to be doing something with your hands and arms. For all the ladies, try touching your hair, playing with your clothes, or interacting with your loved one/s. For the gents, put your fingers or thumb in a pocket, or better yet, love on your lady or put your dad jokes to the test and see what reaction you can get out of your family!

Preparing for your session

Other things to take into consideration


Hair & Makeup: Even if you don't usually wear a lot of makeup or style your hair, this is something I would suggest you consider doing for your session. You'll feel beautiful and it will just take your photographs to the next level. For engagement sessions, some brides opt to have their hair and makeup trial done on the same day prior to their session. I highly recommend this as it allows them to see what their hair and makeup will look like in pictures before their wedding day! If you want to do your own makeup, make sure you apply your eye makeup a little heavier than normal, purely so that it comes through in your photographs.


Location and Time: The best time to shoot is normally sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of the year. When it comes to picking the location for your session, I love shooting in locations that mean something to my clients! I understand that this isn’t always possible but I like to put it out there just in case! Another thing to take into consideration is that if you or your loved one/s are not morning people, rather do an afternoon session to avoid sleepy, puffy eyes and grumpy individuals who have been dragged out of bed. Your session should be something fun. You don't want to ruin the experience for anyone and any opportunity for future sessions.


Be on Time: I cannot stress how important this really is. What most people don’t realize is that natural light photographers are 100% dependent on the sun. If you are late, they will lose that amount of time during their session due to the lack of light. I realize that things happen beyond our control, like massive amounts of traffic and accidents. If at all possible, try to be on time if not slightly early, so that you don’t feel flustered, lose any of your shooting time or pretty sunlight!

I hope you find these tips helpful, and that when you have your session and see the finished product, you will see your authentic selves shine through! No matter what, remember to have fun with it! If you’re enjoying yourselves, looking natural will be an automatic result!

Frequently Asked Questions

WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

A.I’m based in Durban/Pretoria, South Africa

DO YOU TRAVEL FOR SESSIONS?

A.Yes I do, but it will depend on the chosen location for your session. There may be an additional travel charge should you wish to shoot further than the greater Durban/Pretoria region.

DO WE GET DIGITAL FILES?

A.Yes. Every file you’ll receive has gone through an editing process and saved as a high-resolution JPEG which is ready to be shared, downloaded and printed. They are also free of watermarks.

CAN WE GET A COPY OF THE RAW PHOTOGRAPHS?

A.No. The final files which you receive have been modified and enhanced (exposure, contrast, composition, colour correction etc.) in Lightroom to reflect my style and finished work.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT “SMILE AT THE CAMERA” PHOTOS?

A.Most parents and grandparents desire these photographs and I’d be happy to grab a few posed, smiley photographs during a session. I however have a documentary style and approach, so naturally this will not be the focus. Typically, I'll start with a few posed photographs to get you into the swing of things but then we'll move onto you are your loved one/s interacting with one another.

WHAT IS THE WAITING TIME BETWEEN MY SESSION AND RECEIVING OUR PHOTOGRAPHS?

A.Photographs are delivered between two and three weeks after the session

HOW DO WE RESERVE YOU FOR OUR WEDDING?

A.It’s as easy as letting me know which package you are interested in, as well as any other extras you might like to include, and I will send you an invoice and contract with all the necessary details. Once I receive proof of payment for your booking fee and a copy of your signed contract, then I secure your date in my calendar!

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO HAVE OUR SESSION?

A.The most beautiful, soft and flattering light falls just before sunset. We will Google what time the sun sets on the day of your session, and take everyone's needs into account.

If shooting at sunset isn’t an option, we will choose a location that has a lot of shade so that we are able to get out of the direct harsh light.

For those early risers who aren't afraid of rolling out of bed half asleep before the sun rises, we will need to discuss where and when we'll meet based on the time of the year.

CAN WE POSTPONE OUR SHOOT?

A.The only instance where I will propose we reschedule is if it is raining.

I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS!

A.That is no problem. Feel free to pop me an email and we can address all of your questions.

courtneydalephotography@gmail.com

GET IN TOUCH

Let's chat about your session.